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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Friday to take up an issue that could change a key element of the system America uses to elect its president, with a decision likely in the spring just as the campaign heats up.

The answer to the question could be a decisive one: Are the electors who cast the actual Electoral College ballots for president and vice president required to follow the results of the popular vote in their states? Or are they free to vote as they wish?

The article goes on to state the following:

A decision that they are free agents could give a single elector, or a small group of them, the power to decide the outcome of a presidential election if the popular vote results in an apparent Electoral College tie or is close.

“Advocates for the court’s intervention say the issue needs urgent resolution in an era of intense political polarization and the prospect of a razor-thin margin in a presidential election, although so-called faithless electors have been a footnote so far in American history,” the Associated Press reports. “About 30 states require presidential electors to vote for the popular vote winner, and electors almost always do so anyway. Under the Constitution, the country elects the president indirectly, with voters choosing people who actually cast an Electoral College ballot for president. It takes 270 votes to win.”

The cases to be considered by the Supreme Court involve faithless electors during the 2016 presidential election.

Colorado elector Michael Baca voted for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016, instead of for Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in the state.

In Washington state, three of the state’s 12 electors voted for the Former Secretary of State Colin Powell instead of Clinton. She also won the popular vote in that state.

“In all, there were 10 faithless electors in 2016, including a fourth in Washington, a Democratic elector in Hawaii and two Republican electors in Texas,” the AP reports. “In addition, Democratic electors who said they would not vote for Clinton were replaced in Maine and Minnesota.”

The justices will hear arguments in April. A decision should be issued by late June.

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